Coke's legal defense

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stuward
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Coke's legal defense

Post by stuward » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:55 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robb ... 69716.html
"no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage."

I guess what they really mean is that no reasonable person believes anything advertised and therefore is OK to lie since only ignorant, unreasonable people are going to be gullible enough to be swindled.

That sort of reminds me of Activa yogurt.

The amount of money that companies invest in these types of products make lawsuits a minor cost of doing business. Activa's budget for development is in the 100s of millions. The $35 million settlement was a drop in the bucket. Vitaminwater is in the billions. What do they care about legalities?

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:24 am

As far as I can tell, this document http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/order_on_m-d ... doc_44.pdf is where that huffingtonpost so-called "quote" came from. Not defending Coke, which is pushing insulin bombs, but that huffingtonpost article seems to essentially be a lie, by taking a snippet out of context. The actual defense is much more complicated:
Defendants contend that no reasonable consumer could have been misled by vitaminwater’s labeling because: (1) the FDA-mandated label on each bottle bears the true facts about the amount of sugar per serving; (2) the allegations about brand names like “vitaminwater,” the one-word flavor names like “rescue,” slogans like “vitamins + water = all you need,” and sayings like “healthy as a horse” describe only puffery; and (3) no reasonable consumer could believe that vitamins and water are literally “all they need to survive” or all that “is in your hand” when holding a bottle that disclosed the presence of sugar.

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Post by stuward » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:49 am

It's definately sloppy reporting on the part of the Huffingtonpost. I wouldn't call it a lie though. The essance of the quote is the same, if a little more sensational. The courts did find Coke at fault and their defence did rest on the irrelvancy of their misleading statements simply because the of fact that sugar was in the list of ingredients. If you say something in an ad, and admit that you don't expect people to believe it, that shows that you're lying, but it also shows that you expect that people will ignore logic and follow the advertising anyway.

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:01 pm

Well, unless the Huffingtonpost "quote" came from something else, it is so misleading as to be a lie. Coke is still claiming that vitaminwater is healthy, which is the exact opposite of what the "quote" says. Coke's claim is that it's healthy, but sugary yes (ie, "appropriate for weight-loss" and "healthy" are two different things.)

It is seemingly targeted at a consumer audience of exercisers, and if you're doing a bulking BB phase, I can't really argue with them... I agree it's a bit convoluted and most people don't need more sugar, but two wrongs don't make a right.

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Post by stuward » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:15 pm

Coke is saying 2 things at once. They're claiming it to be healthy in their ads and in court they're saying that people should be able to see for themselves that it's not, so therefore It's OK to lie in their ads.

I don't want to debate Huffington. That's a red herring. The point is that Coke lies in their ads, admits it in court and assumes that that should be OK.

Here's another report suggesting that they remarket it as a post-workout drink.
http://blogs.pitch.com/fatcity/2010/08/ ... erts_t.php

Of course that moves it from the mainstream to a fringe area dominated by Gatorade.

Another view:

http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/201 ... t-in-court

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:53 pm

Well, again Coke's argument in the document I linked to is that it is healthy in the proper context, it's just high-sugar. There's a lot of discussion in there as to what FDA considers the word "healthy" to mean - and apparently low-calorie/low-sugar is not a requirement.

I have more of a problem marketing soda/cereal to kids than I do marketing workout drinks like Gatorade or whatever.

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